The Discipleship Conjecture

If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine – Jesus

I am reading and blogging through Grace, Salvation & Discipleship by Charles C. Bing, a book given to me by a friend who was eager to hear what I thought about it. In the first post we looked at how the book framed the idea of faith within the Free Grace movement (link).


In this post we will examine Bing’s presentation of discipleship. The purpose of the book and the Free Grace movement is to defend the idea that the term disciple is not a synonym for a Christian (aka believer).

Salvation is not Discipleship. This distinction is the basis of this book.

In defining a disciple, Bing offers four good observations:

  • “A disciple is a learner, someone who is learning to become like his teacher”
  • “The word disciple does not automatically refer to someone who is eternally saved”
  • “the term disciples seems to to refer to Christians as a whole without distinction [in Acts]”
  • a true disciple is “a follower of Jesus Christ as Master”

He then tries to defend the distinction, that believers are not disciples, using John 8:30-31 as the primary text. [1]

This [distinction] couldn’t be clearer than in John 8:30-31 where Jesus tells those who have already believed in Him how they can become disciples …

and later: Continue reading

I find your definition of faith disturbing

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. – Acts 16:31

A friend recently gave me a copy of Grace, Salvation & Discipleship by Charles C. Bing to review. The author, a strong advocate of the Free Grace movement, wrote this book to defend the idea that the term disciple is not a synonym for a Christian (or believer).

A Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for sins, rose again, and guarantees eternal salvation. … A disciple is someone committed to following Jesus Christ and learning from Him.

The Grace Evangelical Society, a ministry dedicated to advancing Free Grace teaching, declares that its “aim is to promote the clear proclamation of God’s free salvation through faith alone in Christ, which is properly correlated with and distinguished from issues relating to discipleship.” Bing is a frequent contributor to their journal (link).

The first part of the book, Bing explores the importance of good Bible interpretation. He also defines various terms where he feels there has been confusion across various theological circles. Most of the book is dedicated to exploring the passages dealing with salvation and discipleship with the goal of presenting the Free Grace understanding of each.

I don’t intend to blog through the entire book, but will be writing on various topics that are dealt with. In this post we will examine how we are to define faith, as this is one of the terms tackled in the book Grace, Salvation & Discipleship (GSD).

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Grace for All: What is Hebrews all about anyway?

This post is a part of a series that is examining each essay in the recently published book Grace for All. 

This is the final essay in the book Grace for All, and the second entry by Grant R. Osborne, the author. In this essay, Osborne notes that there are numerous questions about the book of Hebrews. We don’t know who the author was, who specifically it was written to, and where the original recipients were located. The warning passages in this book are also a topic of great debate (see some thoughts on that here).

This essay focuses on the main theme of the book, concluding:

The writer [of Hebrews] argues against a static Christianity that is content to dwell in the assurance of final inheritance. Such a faith is not faith at all; it inevitably stagnates into immaturity (5:13-14; 6:1) and leaves itself open to apostasy (6:4).

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